Brown Sugar Kitchen’s Spiced Sweet Potato Bundt Cake

Sweet potatoes make this cake really moist.

Sweet potatoes make this cake really moist.

Imagine a holiday cake that’s rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates and beta-carotene.

OK, so it does have chocolate chips, too. Plus a wicked chocolate-coffee glaze.

“Spiced Sweet Potato Bundt Cake” has all that going for it and more. After all, it’s the creation of Chef Tanya Holland, who’s famed for her soulful comfort food at her Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland.

This cake is from her new cookbook, “Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home Recipes From Sweet West Oakland” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy. It was written with former San Francisco Magazine editor Jan Newberry.


You’ll find all your Brown Sugar Kitchen favorites here, including Holland’s legendary Cornmeal Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup and Buttermilk Fried Chicken. All in all, you’ll find more than 80 recipes from everything from Creole Gazpacho to Smoked Buttered Rum. What’s really special about this book, though, is its sense of place. Holland’s restaurant is an intrinsic part of this West Oakland neighborhood. The book celebrates the people that make this area what it is by including profiles of its entrepreneurs, musicians and community leaders.

Holiday desserts don’t get more comforting than this cake, studded with plenty of chocolate chips. It bakes up moist not unlike pumpkin bread, and heady with autumn spices. The recipe says the cake will take about 40 to 50 minutes to bake. In my oven, it took 60 minutes.

You’ll need chicory coffee for the Chocolate-Chicory sauce. Just pick up a can of New Orleans’ Cafe du Monde chicory coffee at Cost Plus World Market and you’re good to go. The sauce is optional, but the cake benefits from it, so do make it if you can.

Chicory-laced coffee from New Orleans fabled Cafe du Monde.

Chicory-laced coffee from New Orleans fabled Cafe du Monde.

My only quibble is the original recipe for the sauce not only made way too much for the cake, but was of such a thin consistency that it was more like chocolate milk than a glaze. Had I really thought about it beforehand as I read the recipe, I would have realized that 2 cups of liquid to 10 ounces of chocolate just didn’t sound right. So below is the sauce recipe if I were to do it again. I cut the recipe in half and decreased the amount of cream even more to create a thicker consistency. If it’s still not to your liking, just remember that you can add more chocolate to thicken it or a tablespoon or more of cream to thin it out.

The slightly bitter taste of the glaze, coupled with its hint of chicory, really is an ideal complement to the sweet potato cake.

Plus, what a delicious way to get your dose of beta-carotene this holiday season.

You can never have too many chocolate chips.

You can never have too many chocolate chips.

Spiced Sweet Potato Bundt Cake

(Serves 12)

1 1/2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground allspice

1 tablespoon grated nutmeg

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 eggs

1 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

2 cups chocolate chips

Chocolate-Chicory Sauce (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.

In a medium pot, cover the sweet potatoes with water. Bring to a boil, and cook until the potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Drain.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cooked sweet potatoes and eggs on medium speed until smooth. Add the melted butter and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture, and mix just until combined. Remove the work bowl from the mixer and, with a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips. Spoon the batter into the prepared Bundt pan.

Bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. (Mine took 60 minutes, just fyi.) Transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely in the pan, about 1 hour. Loosen the cake from the pan using the tip of a dinner knife, then invert a rack over the pan and turn the cake out onto the rack.

Let cool, then drizzle on the Chocolate-Chicory Sauce.

Serve at room temperature.

Note: To store, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Chocolate-Chicory Sauce

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more if needed

1/4 cup brewed chicory coffee, such as Cafe du Monde brand

1 cinnamon stick

Put the chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. In a small saucepan, combine cream, coffee and cinnamon stick and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate. Let stand, undisturbed, for about 2 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick, then whisk until chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is blended and smooth. If mixture seems to thick, add a tablespoon more of cream if need be.

Recipes adapted from “Brown Sugar Kitchen by Tanya Holland with Jan Newberry


More Sweet Potato Recipes: See’s Scotch Kiss Sweet Potatoes


And: Sweet Potato and Cumin Soup with Feta Yogurt


Plus More Holiday Cakes: Pumpkin-Almond Cake with Almond Butter Frosting


And: Pumpkin Mini Cakes


And: Apple Snacking Spice Cake


And: Sally Schmitt’s Cranberry and Apple Kuchen with Hot Cream Sauce

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